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Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty, Highland. (1890 - 1960s)

Founded 1890.

The club switched titles throughout its existence, using the names Castlecraig, Nigg and sometimes Cromarty Golf Club.

Initially a 9-hole course, it was extended to 18-holes in about 1907. Thanks to regular visits by the Home Fleet to Invergordon, Sunday play was allowed. It was a course with natural hazards, fine seaside turf and surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Alexander Polson, schoolmaster at Nigg at the time, described the early eighteen-hole course as follows: “There is a convenient little clubhouse fitted with lockers. The course is excellent and is capable of great development and improvement. The soil is sand and inclined to moss, making the surface rather soft. The greens are excellent and have been formed from the natural turf and are good evidence of what can be made of it by care and attention. The holes provide plenty of variety with regard to length and difficulty. There are two splendid short holes, surrounded by natural hazards, a ditch having to be crossed in each case. About eight of the holes may be reached by the long player with two strokes, but for the average player they mean three. Three of the holes are three shot holes, the others drive and an iron or drive and a pitch. The hazards throughout are natural, there being only one or two artificial bunkers. They consist of hillocks, ditches sandy patches with bent and rough ground usually to punish the unwary player who leaves the fairway.

Description of holes – the first is a three shot hole to the ordinary player, but may be reached by two extra good strokes. The fairway lies over undulating country with a wide sandy gully to trap a topped drive. The second or Sea Hole is a plateau, guarded in front by a deep gully, while beyond lies the beach. It can be reached by a drive and a short pitch. The third and fourth are new holes and still rather rough, but promise to become splendid holes. Here straight driving is essential as rough country lies on either side. The third or Quarry Hole usually requires three strokes and the drive must be carefully placed clear of a long ravine extending in the direction of the hole. Going to the fourth, rough ground and a road have to be carried from the tee after which the passage is easy. The green lies on a low plateau. The fifth or Spion Kop, is one of the familiar kind where the green lies on the top of a steep hill or escarpment. This escarpment is the line of the old beach when the sea stood higher than it is at present. On the way to it the player has to carry a fairly high hill with his drive, and at the same time avoid the quarry on the right. The sixth is the Short Hole, a massive shot over a deep hollow and ditch with the green on top of the bank beyond. At the seventh once more a ridge has to be crossed with the second. The eighth is flat, but two ditches have to be crossed on the way. At the ninth a ridge must be carried with the second, after which the green is within easy pitching distance. The outward half extends to 2660 yards and the bogey score is 40.

Coming home, the way to the tenth hole lies over a series of hillocks with a burn on the right all the way. Three shots are usually necessary to reach the green. The eleventh, a short hole, is a tricky iron shot with a ditch in front and on the left, a wall on the right and rough ground beyond. The twelfth is a drive and pitch with a burn to trap a topped drive. At the thirteenth or Long Hole we descend the old coast line and reach the the older part of the course, where the ground is firmer. A big natural bunker has to be carried with the second shot. The fourteenth hole lies in a cup and provides an admirable approach shot. At the fifteenth and sixteenth we again cross the burn. The sixteenth green is an undulating one on the side of a hill and requires a carefully placed approach if the succeeding putt is to stay near the hole. The seventeenth may be reached with a good drive. The last hole lies over undulating ground, the green being in a wide hollow near the clubhouse. The inward half is 2455 yards in length, making the total length 5055 yards. The bogey home is 40, making the bogey for the round 80”

The report below features two competitions played in September 1891.


Nigg Golf Club, Castlecraig, Cromarty. Competition results from September 1891.

From the Ross-shire Journal Friday 18 September 1891. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Competition result from April 1892.


Nigg Golf Club, Cromarty. Competition result from April 1892.

From "Golf" Friday 8 April 1892.


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Competitions played in May 1893.

Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland Wednesday 17 May 1893. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


From "Golf" Friday 25 May 1894; Cromarty; Nine-holes (fine sporting course). Castlecraig; Nine-holes (fair).

Competition result from September 1894.


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Competition played in September 1894.

Ross-shire Journal Friday 28 September 1894. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Below is a report on a match played at Castlecraig against Invergordon Golf Club in August 1895.


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Result of a match against Invergordon in August 1895.

From the Ross-shire Journal Friday 16 August 1895. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Below is the result of a match between Fortrose Golf Club and Cromarty Golf Club played on the Chanonry course in July 1896.

Fortrose Golf Club   Cromarty Golf Club  
Mr Haldane 0 Mr Lumsden 6
Dr. Maclean 9 Mr Ross 0
Mr S Kemp 9 Mr Junor 0
Mr A Mackenzie 0 Mr Cooper 6
Mr W S Geddie 0 Mr Ross 3
Colonel Stephen 0 Dr. Crerar 2
General D Macintyre 0 Mr Menzies 9
Rev. W Green 2 Mr Richmond 0
  20   26

Below is the result of another match against Fortrose played on the Castlecraig course in August 1898. The home side playing under the name of Cromarty.


Cromarty Golf Club, castlecraig, Nigg. Match played in August 1898 against Fortrose.

From the Inverness Courier Tuesday 16 August 1898. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Report on the course in October 1903.


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Report on the course in October 1903.

Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser Saturday 10 October 1903 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


The Ordnance Survey Map below shows the location of the golf course in the 1900s.


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Ordnance Survey Map from the 1900s showing the golf course.

O.S. Map Revised 1904; © Crown Copyright {year of publication 1907}.


The following is taken from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Secretary, D Junor, Cromarty; Captain, Col. Maxwell; Entry fee 10/- and subs 5/-; 9-holes; Membership of 40; Visitors' fees 2/- a week. A very sporting course, with natural hazards and fine seaside turf, and surrounded by beautiful scenery. 

The annual meeting of the Castlecraig Golf Club was held at the Nigg Hotel on Saturday 20 April 1907. The annual report showed that the club was in a very flourishing condition. The following office-bearers were appointed; President - Colonel Ross, Cromarty; vice-president - G E Romanes, Pitcalzean; captain - Colonel Maxwell, Castlecraig Lodge; secretary and treasurer - D Junor, Cromarty.

In May 1910 the Challenge Cup presented by Colonel Ross of Cromarty was won by Mr J A Ross with a score of 80, runner-up was Mr Rose. In the ladies' competition Miss Wilson was the winner, Miss Lizzie Middleton was second.  

In 1914 club membership was 80. Entry fees were 10/- and subs £1. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 2/6d a week and 10/- a month. Sunday play was not allowed.

In 1922 club membership had reduced to 36. Visitors’ fees were now 2/- a day, 5/- a week, 7/6d a fortnight and 10/6d a month. There were special terms for naval or military officers and wives who paid 10/6 a season.

  Secretary Professional/greenkeeper
1907/9 D Junor R Ross (p)
1914 P Hay  
1922-1940 Miss Vera Mackenzie, Craig Lodge, Nigg  
1922   W Mackenzie (g)
1930s Miss Vera Mackenzie, Craig Lodge, Nigg. J A S Fraser (g)
1940   A Ross (p/g)
1947/50s J W Castle, 4 George Street, Cromarty  
1955/60s A J Nicholson, School House, Nigg  

In August 1936 a successful sale and fete was held at Nigg to raise funds for the golf club. The sale was opened by Lady Gascoigne, Dunskaith, who was thanked by Lady Ross of Cromarty. Nearly £80 was raised. The Cromarty Pipe and Drum Band provided the music. 

Below Mr Duff Cooper, First Lord of the Admiralty, paid a visit to the Fleet in the Cromarty Firth in September 1937. The picture shows him driving off during a round of golf on the Castlecraig, Nigg, golf course.


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Mr Duff Cooper, First Lord of the Admiralty on the Nigg course September 1937.

From the Aberdeen Press and Journal Tuesday 14 September 1937. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Seven players competed for the Ross Cup (Old) in October 1937. Dr Gillanders, Cromarty, was the winner with a score of 83-10-73. Three players tied for second place; George Rose, postmaster, Nigg, 87-10-77; A Skinner, Balnabruaich, 90-13-77; Christopher MacKenzie, Nigg Ferry, 77 scratch.

Below officers of the Home Fleet playing on the Castlecraig course in September 1938


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Officers of the Home Fleet playing the course 1938.


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Officers of the Home Fleet playing the course in 1938.

From the Sketch Wednesday 28 September 1938. Images © Illustrated London News Group.


In 1940 there was an increase in visitors’ fees to 7/6d a week, 10/-a fortnight and 15/- a month. During the 1940s the 18 holes had a SSS of 70 and measured 5,116yds. The clubhouse was not licensed but drinks and meals were available at the Inn 50 yards from the clubhouse.  The station at Nigg was 6 miles away and there was a ferry to Cromarty, by motor launch 10 minutes. Local hotels were the Nigg and Royal. The course was reduced to 9 holes in the 1950s.

Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty View of the former course.

Early post card of Castlecraig Golf Club. Author's collection


Castlecraig Golf Club, Nigg, Cromarty. Location of the former course.

Location of the Castlecraig golf course.


Castlecraig Golf Club disappeared in the early 1960s.

Thanks to Margaret Sykes of Gawsworth, Cheshire for this contribution in 2004 “ Late in 1990 I was given a small diamond shaped cut glass trinket box with an engraved silver top. It had been won by my friend’s grandmother. The inscription read – Ladies Golf Competition Castle Craig, First Prize won by Miss Gordon 1909”